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Lorem Ipsum Nov 2017
It doesn’t matter why I was there, where the air is sterile and the sheets sting.
it doesn’t matter that I was hooked up to this thing that buzzed and beeped every time my heart leaped, like a man whose faith tells him:
God's hands are big enough to catch an airplane

or a world,

doesn’t matter that I was curled up like a fist protesting death,
or that every breath was either hard labor or hard time,
or that I’m either always too hot or too cold
it doesn’t matter because my hospital roommate wears star wars pajamas,
and he’s nine years old

His name is Louis

and I don’t have to ask what he’s got, the bald head with the skin and bones frame speaks volumes. The Gameboy and feather pillow booms like, they’re trying to make him feel at home ‘cuase he’s gonna be here a while

I manage a smile the first time I see him and it feels like the biggest lie I’ve ever told.
so I hold my breath
cause I’m thinking any minute now he’s gonna call me on it
I hold my breath
cuase I’m scared of a fifty seven pound boy hooked to a machine, becuase he’s been watching me, and maybe I’ve got him pegged all wrong, like

maybe he’s bionic or some ****.
so I look away.

like I just made eye contact with a gang member who’s got a rap sheet the length of a lecture on dumb mistakes politicians have made. I look away like he’s gonna give me my life back he minute I’ve got something to trade, I **** near pull out my pack and say


Cigarette?

but my fear subsides in the moment I realize Louis is all about show and tell. he’s got everything from a shot gun shell to a crows foot and he can put them all in context like:

See, this is from a shooting range and

see, this is from a weird girl

I watch his hands curl around a cuff link and a tie tack and realize that every nick knack is a treasure and every treasure’s got a story and every time I think I can’t handle more he hits me with another story. says:

See, this is from my father. see, this is from my brother. see, this is from that weird girl. see this is from my mother. it took me two days to figure out that

that weird girl, is his sister.

took him about two hours today after she left for him to figure out he missed her.

they visit every day and stay well passed visiting hours. because for them that term doesn’t apply. but when they do leave Louis and I are left alone and he says the worst part about being sick is you get all the free ice cream you ask for. and he says the worst part about that is realizing that there’s

nothing more they can do for you. he says:

Ice Cream can’t make every thing ok.

and there’s no easy way of asking and I already know what he’s gonna say, but maybe he just needs to say it so I ask him any way. Are you scared? Louis doesn’t even lower his voice when he says

**** yeah.


I listen to a nine year old boy say the word ****, like he was a thirty year old man with a nose bleed being lowered into a shark tank, he’s got a right to it and if it takes this kid a curse word to help him get through it, I want to teach him to swear like the devil was sitting there taking notes with a pen and a pad but before I can forget that Louis is nine years old he says:

please don’t tell my dad.

he asks me if I believe in angels,

and before I realize I don’t have the heart to tell him, I tell him Not lately, and I just lay there waiting for him to hate me. but he doesn’t know how to, so he never does.

Louis loves like a man who lived in a time before god gave religion to men and left it to them to figure out what hate was.

He never greets me with silence. only smiles. and a patience I’ve never seen in someone who knows they’re dying. and I’m trying so hard not to remind him, I’ll be out of here in a couple of days, smoking cigarettes and taking my life for granted. and he’ll still be planted in this bed like a flower that refuses to grow, I’ve been with him for five days and all I really know is Louis loves to pull feathers out of his pillow, and watch them float to the ground, almost as if he was the philosopher inside of the scientist ready to say that its gravity that’s been getting us down. but the truth is

there’s not enough miracles to go around kid,

and there’s too many people petitioning god for the winning lotto ticket. and for every answered prayer there’s a cricket with arthritis, and the only reason we can’t find answers is the search party didn’t invite us, and Louis right now the crickets have arthritis

so there is no music.

no symphony of nature swelling to crescendos, as if we bent halo’s into melodies that could keep rhythm with the way our hearts beat.
so we must meet silence with the same level of noise that the parents of dying nine year old boys make when they take liberties in talking with heaven. we must shout until we shatter in our own vibrations then let our lives

echo, and grow
echo, and grow
echo, and grow

Grow distant.


grow distant enough to know that as far as our efforts go we don’t always get a reply. but I swear to whatever god I can find in the time I have left I’m gonna remember you kid. gonna tell your story as often as every story you told me, and every time I tell it I’ll say see,

there’s bravery in this world

there’s 6.5 billion people curled up like fists protesting death, but every breath we take has to be given back, a nine year old boy taught me that.

so hold your breath. the same way you’d hold a pen when writing thank you letters on your skin to every tree that gave you that breath to hold.
then let it go. as if you understand something about getting old and having to give back
let it go like a laugh attack in the middle of really good ***

the black eye will be worth it.

because what is your night worth without a story to tell, and why wield a word like worth if you’ve got nothing to sell. people drop pennies down a wishing well as if the cost of a desire is equal to that of a thought. but if you’ve got expectations expect others have bought your exact same dream for the price of the hard work, hang in, hold on mentality, like I accept any challenge so challenge me
like

I’ve brought a knife to this gun fight, but other night I mugged a mountain so bring that **** I’ve had practice.

Louis and I cracked this world wide open and found the prize inside because we never lied to ourselves, never told ourselves it would be easy or undemanding.
so we sing in our own vibration and dare angels to eavesdrop and stop midflight to pluck feathers from their wings and write demands on gods hands

take the time to catch you

so that even if god doesn’t, it wasn’t because we didn’t try.

I don’t often believe in angels, but on the day I left Louis pulled a feather from his pillow and said this is for you,

I half expected him to say

See, this is the first one I grew.

-Shane Koyczan
Shane L. Koyczan is a Canadian spoken word poet, writer, and member of the group Tons of Fun University. He is known for writing about issues like bullying, cancer, death, and eating disorders.(Wikipedia)
Lorem Ipsum Nov 2017
When I was a kid
I used to think that pork chops and karate chops
Were the same thing
I thought they were both pork chops
And because my grandmother thought it was cute
And because they were my favourite
She let me keep doing it

Not really a big deal

One day
Before I realized fat kids are not designed to climb trees
I fell out of a tree
And bruised the right side of my body

I didn’t want to tell my grandmother about it
Because I was afraid I’d get in trouble
For playing somewhere that I shouldn’t have been

A few days later the gym teacher noticed the bruise
And I got sent to the principal’s office
From there I was sent to another small room
With a really nice lady
Who asked me all kinds of questions
About my life at home


I saw no reason to lie
As far as I was concerned
Life was pretty good
I told her, “Whenever I’m sad
My grandmother gives me karate chops”

This led to a full scale investigation
And I was removed from the house for three days
Until they finally decided to ask how I got the bruises

News of this silly little story quickly spread through the school
And I earned my first nickname

Pork Chop

To this day
I hate pork chops

I’m not the only kid
Who grew up this way
Surrounded by people who used to say
That rhyme about sticks and stones
As if broken bones
Hurt more than the names we got called
And we got called them all
So we grew up believing no one
Would ever fall in love with us
That we’d be lonely forever
That we’d never meet someone
To make us feel like the sun
Was something they built for us
In their tool shed
So broken heart strings bled the blues
As we tried to empty ourselves
So we would feel nothing
Don’t tell me that hurts less than a broken bone
That an ingrown life
Is something surgeons can cut away
That there’s no way for it to metastasize


It does

She was eight years old
Our first day of grade three
When she got called ****
We both got moved to the back of the class
So we would stop get bombarded by spit *****
But the school halls were a battleground
Where we found ourselves outnumbered day after wretched day
We used to stay inside for recess
Because outside was worse
Outside we’d have to rehearse running away
Or learn to stay still like statues giving no clues that we were there
In grade five they taped a sign to her desk
That read beware of dog

To this day
Despite a loving husband
She doesn’t think she’s beautiful
Because of a birthmark
That takes up a little less than half of her face
Kids used to say she looks like a wrong answer
That someone tried to erase
But couldn’t quite get the job done
And they’ll never understand
That she’s raising two kids
Whose definition of beauty
Begins with the word mom
Because they see her heart
Before they see her skin
Because she’s only ever always been amazing


He
Was a broken branch
Grafted onto a different family tree
Adopted
Not because his parents opted for a different destiny
He was three when he became a mixed drink
Of one part left alone
And two parts tragedy
Started therapy in 8th grade
Had a personality made up of tests and pills
Lived like the uphills were mountains
And the downhills were cliffs
Four fifths suicidal
A tidal wave of anti depressants
And an adolescence of being called popper
One part because of the pills
Ninety nine parts because of the cruelty
He tried to **** himself in grade ten
When a kid who could still go home to mom and dad
Had the audacity to tell him “get over it” as if depression
Is something that can be remedied
By any of the contents found in a first aid kit

To this day
He is a stick of TNT lit from both ends
Could describe to you in detail the way the sky bends
In the moments before it’s about to fall
And despite an army of friends
Who all call him an inspiration
He remains a conversation piece between people
Who can’t understand
Sometimes becoming drug free
Has less to do with addiction
And more to do with sanity

We weren’t the only kids who grew up this way
To this day
Kids are still being called names
The classics were
Hey stupid
Hey spaz
Seems like each school has an arsenal of names
Getting updated every year
And if a kid breaks in a school
And no one around chooses to hear
Do they make a sound?
Are they just the background noise
Of a soundtrack stuck on repeat
When people say things like
Kids can be cruel?
Every school was a big top circus tent
And the pecking order went
From acrobats to lion tamers
From clowns to carnies
All of these were miles ahead of who we were
We were freaks
Lobster claw boys and bearded ladies
Oddities
Juggling depression and loneliness playing solitaire spin the bottle
Trying to kiss the wounded parts of ourselves and heal
But at night
While the others slept
We kept walking the tightrope
It was practice
And yes
Some of us fell

But I want to tell them
That all of this ****
Is just debris
Leftover when we finally decide to smash all the things we thought
We used to be
And if you can’t see anything beautiful about yourself
Get a better mirror
Look a little closer
Stare a little longer
Because there’s something inside you
That made you keep trying
Despite everyone who told you to quit
You built a cast around your broken heart
And signed it yourself
You signed it
“They were wrong”
Because maybe you didn’t belong to a group or a clique
Maybe they decided to pick you last for basketball or everything
Maybe you used to bring bruises and broken teeth
To show and tell but never told
Because how can you hold your ground
If everyone around you wants to bury you beneath it
You have to believe that they were wrong

They have to be wrong

Why else would we still be here?
We grew up learning to cheer on the underdog
Because we see ourselves in them
We stem from a root planted in the belief
That we are not what we were called
We are not abandoned cars stalled out and
Sitting empty on a highway
And if in some way we are
Don’t worry
We only got out to walk and get gas
We are graduating members from the class of ******* We Made It
Not the faded echoes of voices crying out
Names will never hurt me

Of course
They did

But our lives will only ever always
Continue to be
A balancing act
That has less to do with pain
And more to do with beauty

-Shane Koyczan
Shane L. Koyczan is a Canadian spoken word poet, writer, and member of the group Tons of Fun University. He is known for writing about issues like bullying, cancer, death, and eating disorders. (Wikipedia)

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